IMDb > The Maltese Falcon (1931)
The Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon (1931) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
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Director:
Writers:
Dashiell Hammett (based on the novel by)
Maude Fulton (screen play & dialogue) ...
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View company contact information for The Maltese Falcon on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 June 1931 (USA) See more »
Plot:
A lovely dame with dangerous lies employs the services of a private detective, who is quickly caught up in the mystery and intrigue of a statuette known as the Maltese Falcon. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The Original Screen Version of The Maltese Falcon See more (33 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bebe Daniels ... Ruth Wonderly

Ricardo Cortez ... Sam Spade
Dudley Digges ... Casper Gutman
Una Merkel ... Effie Perine
Robert Elliott ... Detective Lt. Dundy

Thelma Todd ... Iva Archer
Otto Matieson ... Dr. Joel Cairo
Walter Long ... Miles Archer

Dwight Frye ... Wilmer Cook
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Det. Sgt. Tom Polhouse
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Agostino Borgato ... Capt. John Jacobi (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Jailbird Seeking Cigarette (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Baggage Clerk (uncredited)
Morgan Wallace ... District Attorney (uncredited)
Lucille Ward ... Sarah - Prison Matron (uncredited)
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Directed by
Roy Del Ruth 
 
Writing credits
Dashiell Hammett (based on the novel by)

Maude Fulton (screen play & dialogue) &
Brown Holmes (screen play & dialogue)

Lucien Hubbard  uncredited

Cinematography by
William Rees (photography)
 
Film Editing by
George Marks (edited by)
 
Art Direction by
Robert M. Haas  (as Robert Haas)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Palmer Belmont .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry Davis .... second camera (uncredited)
Mac Julian .... still photographer (uncredited)
Frederick E. West .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Earl Luick .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dangerous Female" - USA (TV title)
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Runtime:
80 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1940 credits the uncredited role of the District Attorney to Oscar Apfel. This is incorrect; the role is played by an unmistakable Morgan Wallace as correctly listed on IMDb.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In Spade's apartment, Ruth opens a wound on Cairo's forehead. Shortly afterward, when Cairo goes to see Gutman, there is no sign of the wound.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Sam Spade:Bye-bye, honey. I'll see you later... Effie!
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Movie Connections:

FAQ

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66 out of 71 people found the following review useful.
The Original Screen Version of The Maltese Falcon, 4 April 2005
Author: gftbiloxi (gftbiloxi@yahoo.com) from Biloxi, Mississippi

In 1931 Roy Del Ruth became the first director to bring Dashiell Hammett's THE MALTESE FALCON to the screen. Although it received favorable reviews and did a brisk business at the box office, like many early talkies it was soon eclipsed by ever-advancing technology and forgotten--until television, with its endless demands for late-late show material, knocked on Hollywood's door. Retitled DANGEROUS FEMALE in order to avoid confusion with the highly celebrated 1941 version, it has haunted the airwaves ever since.

DANGEROUS FEMALE is interesting in several ways, and perhaps most deeply so as an example of the struggle that ensued when sound first roared. What had proved effective on the silent screen suddenly seemed highly mannered when voices were added, and both directors and stars struggled to find new techniques--and DANGEROUS FEMALE offers a very vision of the issues involved.

It is a myth that the advent of sound forced directors to lock down the camera, but it is true that many directors preferred simple camera set-ups in early sound films; it gave them one less thing to worry about. And with this film, Roy Del Ruth is no exception: in a visual sense, DANGEROUS FEMALE is fairly static. The performing decisions made by the various actors are also illustrative and informative, particularly re leads Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels. Cortez is still clearly performing in the "silent mode," and he reads as visually loud; Daniels, however, has elected to underplay, and while she is stiff by current standards, her performance must have seemed startlingly innovative at the time. And then there are two performers who are very much of the technology: Una Merkle as Spade's secretary and Thelma Todd as Iva Archer, both of whom seem considerably more comfortable with the new style than either Cortez or Daniels.

The film is also interesting as a "Pre-Code" picture, for it is sexually explicit in ways most viewers will not expect from a 1930s film, and indeed it is surprisingly explicit even in comparison to other pre-code films. Hero Sam Spade is a womanizer who seduces every attractive female who crosses his path--and the film opens with a shot of just such a woman pausing to straighten her stockings before leaving his office. Still later, the dubious Miss Wonderly tempts Spade with her cleavage, lolls in his bed after a thick night, splashes in his bathtub, and finally winds up stripped naked in his kitchen! It is also interesting, of course, to compare DANGEROUS FEMALE to its two remakes. Directed by William Dieterle and starring Warren William and Bette Davis, the 1936 Satan MET A LADY would put Hammett's plot through the wringer--and prove a critical disaster and a box office thud. But then there is the justly celebrated 1941 version starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor under the direction of John Huston.

Both the 1931 and 1941 films lifted great chunks of dialogue from Hammett's novel, and very often the dialogue is line-for-line the same. But two more completely different films could scarcely be imagined. Where the 1931 film strives for an urbane quality, the 1941 film is memorably gritty--and in spite of being hampered by the production, considerably more sexually suggestive as well, implying the homosexuality of several characters much more effectively than the 1931 version dared.

In the final analysis, the 1931 THE MALTESE FALCON (aka DANGEROUS FEMALE) will appeal most to those interested in films that illustrate the transition between silent film and sound, to collectors of "pre-code" movies, and to hardcore FALCON fans who want everything associated with Hammett, his novel, and the various film versions. But I hesitate to recommend it generally; if you don't fall into one of those categories, you're likely to be unimpressed.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon reviewer

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What does the Chinese man say to Sam Spade? willieboyd2
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